The Reunion

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Other  |  House: Booksie Classic

On a stormy night the last thing Robert Parker wanted to do was go to a school reunion, but he would go and get it over with. It would be interesting to see what his old classmates were doing these days.

Robert Parker stepped off the bus in the city centre, and straight into a puddle. Cold water swept up his ankles. He swore to himself and trudged along the high street. What a night, he cursed. This was the kind of evening to stay at home, on your sofa, telly on and a cup of tea. It was not the night to be heading to a school reunion. He shook his head and he marched along, raindrops flicking from his soaked hair. He hadn’t seen most of his school mates for years. He avoided social media for that reason. He just didn’t understand it. If he hadn’t seen somebody for ten years why on earth would he care that they took their kids to the beach or dined in a fancy city centre restaurant.

He ducked out of the rain and into the doorway of the Rain Bar. He smiled and the fitting name of the venue. For a grim Wednesday evening the bar was quite busy. Those drinking around the tall tables and shouting to be heard over the music, seemed to be either the after-work crowd or students neglecting their studies for the evening. He told the bored looking barman that he was here for the school reunion. The guy jerked a thumb and muttered upstairs. Parker nodded, thanks, then headed for the staircase.

He pushed open the door to the function room. As he entered he tugged the zip down on his coat. The function room was around twice the size of his living room with a small bar along one wall. The flaking wallpaper looked like it had been put up for a Wedding reception back in 1976. There were a few people grouped together chatting in the middle of the room. Parker headed for the bar first. He needed a drink and to dry off from the rain a little before meeting his old school friends.

He took a sip of lager and went joined the group. He recognised most of them straight away. Time had taken its toll on most of them. A couple of the lads had thinning hair, another opting to shave his head rather than admit to the horror of male-pattern baldness. Most of them had put on weight over the years, each having more of a belly than they’d had as children. As a child, Parker had been unusual in wearing glasses. Tonight only one person wasn’t wearing glasses. Maybe it was that the stigma of spectacles had gone over the years, or that the decade of computer use had affected their eye-sight.

‘What do you do for a living these days?’ asked a guy called Mark.

‘I work in shipping. It’s alright. Pays the bills, know what I mean?’ Parker replied. ‘What about you?’

‘I am a journalist, only for the local paper, but I enjoy it.’

‘All those hours in the library paid off then. You always had your head in a book.’

‘I’m actually writing a novel in my spare time.’

‘No way. Good for you. If anyone in our year was gonna get a book published it would be you.’

Mark pointed to the woman next to them.

‘Jane is an accountant. She always was top of the class in Maths, remember?’

‘Yeah. Weird the way it works out.’

At that moment the others in the group reached a lull in their conversation. As often happened in groups, they joined Parker and Mark’s conversation.

‘We’re just saying that it’s strange that with a lot of us, what we were like as kids has had an impact on what we do for a living now.’ said Mark. ‘I’ve gone from being a bookish lad to working for a local paper. And you, Jane.’

‘Yes,’ Jane laughed. ‘Maths geek becomes accountant. Hardly a shock.’

‘I haven’t told you what my job is yet, have I?’ asked Peter.

Peter had been a prefect and reached the dizzy heights of Head Boy in his last year of school. He was a stickler for the rules and making sure the pupils towed the line and behaved themselves.

‘I am a police officer!’

The group erupted into laughter. Peter raised a hand in submission, it’s true.

‘And me,’ said another guy. ‘From captain of the football team, have a guess?’

‘Personal trainer?’

‘Spot on.’

 

A while later, as the storm raged outside, rattling the windows, the conversation and the alcohol flowed. Parker found himself relaxing and actually enjoying the catch up and reminiscing with his old classmates.

‘Is he coming?’ Mark asked the group.

‘Who?’ said Parker.

Mark raised an eyebrow, who do you think?

‘Liam Turner.’

The name sent images flashing across his mind. He could see the school playground as though he was back there. Liam had been a bully and used to take great delight in terrorising all the other children at the school. Parker winced as he recalled witnessing Liam burn a boy’s ear with a Bunsen burner in Chemistry class.

‘I’ve not thought about him in years.’

‘He made my life a misery.’ said Jane.

‘He made everyone’s life hell.’ Peter added.

‘It was more than just bullying. It was torture.’

Jane wiped a tear from her eye.

‘Do you think he’ll come tonight?’ asked Parker.

‘I wouldn’t have thought so.’

‘He could be in prison for all we know.’

‘He could be dead.’

Nobody voiced how that would have been a bad thing. If it meant him not turning up this evening then it would have been worth it. All kids could be cruel, but Liam had been wild, sadistic, wicked. Nobody who had been present would ever forget him assaulting a supply teacher who told him off.

At that moment there was a noise. They all turned to look as the flapping of an umbrella came from a doorway. A guy came over smiling pleasantly. As one the group gasped. It was him. It was Liam Turner. He looked well. He still had a full head of fair hair and looked in good shape. He bid them all good evening as he unravelled his scarf. The group were lost for words. There was no need to ask what he did with himself these days, the black and white priest collar around his neck answered the question.


Submitted: April 20, 2020

© Copyright 2021 CTPlatt. All rights reserved.

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hullabaloo22

Ha! Brilliant, CT!

Mon, April 20th, 2020 7:41pm

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